From Milla May 2004


Okay, I’m about to lose control. Since I didn’t get the chance to send this right away, I’ve had a few more days here and I’m absolutely livid and heartbroken.

Many of you may not care. I know that it’s not “cool” anymore to think about animal rights and their treatment. Especially when films and most other media don’t give a damn about what’s right. Whatever makes a buck or what gets a few laughs is “okey-dokey!”

I’ve seen so many comedies where those who donate to animal protection programs are laughed at and made out to be bored, overly rich people that have nothing better to do than throw parties for themselves with the excuse of saving some random, unheard of animal on the brink of extinction (personally, and I know I’ll get slammed for what I’m about to say, I wish all animals would go extinct, just so their torture here on earth - which doesn’t have any place for them anymore now that humans have proliferated at such incomprehensible speeds- would be finished).

Now, I’ve made the mistake of wearing fur once on the runway, which was a long time ago and something I’ll never do again. And I own a few pieces of vintage fur. Stuff that was my grandma’s, from Russia. A few things from the 30’s and 40’s. But, I always thought of them as collector’s items. Objects from a time gone by. The relic of something that’s a memory. I would never buy new fur, designer or not. I never wear it in campaigns. Whatever, I shouldn’t wear it at all. Vintage or not, it seems.

The modeling industry is disgusting in the way that suddenly fur is “back”, making lots of money and cool for celebrities to wear again. I remember 10 years ago, soooo many models “would rather go naked than wear fur” where now, these same people strut all over the catwalk and the city in it and inspire other celebrities to want to wear it (we all know how beautiful it is, but I would love to see how beautiful these people would feel if they actually saw how their “this season’s coolest jacket” was made. Maybe they wouldn’t mind getting electrodes stuck up their bums rather than the army of tongues they’re normally used to).

We’ve encroached on these animals natural habitat. We torture them as if they were inanimate objects. We’ve squeezed them into smaller and smaller reserves. Most of the time they’re just sitting in concrete, bunker-like isolation chambers, otherwise called “zoos”, where they slowly -from lack of an enriched environment (i.e. either their natural habitat or at least a few little toys for God's sake to take up their attention with)- go MAD.

These animals are literally going crazy, mentally insane from BOREDOM. They are ALONE all day long. They are trapped. They have no say in any of this and depend on empathy –something humans have developed only in the last few hundred years really- and compassion from us to take care of them. In other words, they are helpless and bewildered.

That word “bewildered” really breaks me down. To see bewilderment in any living thing is the most horrifying emotion for me. Man, woman or child and especially in animals, it is unbearable.

I know you’re all wondering where I’m going with this, but just hold on, I’ll get to the reason for my sudden passion on this subject.

The people living in most parts of the “western” world are oblivious, whether from lack of education or just plain choice. We are spoiled. We are lucky enough to see nice zoos sometimes, but I know that there are A LOT of places in America and Europe that have zoos that are WAY below the line of common decency.

When we see majestic creatures trapped in cages with nothing inside them but the smell of old urine and some rotten food that’s swarming with flies, most of the time we feel bad for them and try to hurry away as quickly as possible (I'm speaking for myself, cause that’s what I’ve done in the past). Now, I hate myself for it. I hate that I KNOW how wrong it is and I never really do enough to help. I cry about it and then go home to try and forget about what I saw. I try and immerse myself in pretend worlds where I can break through adversary and become some sort of hero. But that’s all it is, just pretend just… characters in movies. I’m tired of being like this. I want to do something in the real world.

The situation here in Mainland China is deplorable to say the least. Especially the lack of respect for life in general, human or otherwise. People’s attitudes have to change, but until that happens, so many animals will suffer. Live a life of suffering from the day they are born, till the day they die.

Now I’ll get specific. Today we had to do a scene in a laboratory with some monkeys. These animals, which are ONE STEP AWAY FROM BEING HUMAN, are being kept by the so-called “Chinese Humane Society” (that’s a joke), locked up in cages that are just big enough to hold them. Everyone on the crew was trying to do their best to play with them and feed them, give them water (which they didn’t have cause the “handlers” didn’t want to clean up their urine… I told them that I’d #1: kick their god damn asses if they didn’t bring them water and #2: that I would clean the monkey’s urine myself if it was so hard for them to DO THEIR $%#&^*& JOBS!) and stimulate them so they wouldn’t be so bored sitting in cages all day. I told everyone that they should film the monkeys before they filmed any of us actors, so they could go back to the peace of their “home” at the Shanghai Zoo. Then John, our main props guy told me that he had gone to the Shanghai Zoo to check it out (he’s Australian and is used to gorgeous reserves where animals run free and live full, rich lives) and he was just shattered when he left because most of the lush, green parks in the zoo are being used for PEOPLE, not animals! So these animals live in concrete while all the natural greenery is being used for people to sit and have a picnic! What the hell is wrong with this picture?! He saw the monkey cages and told us that when they go “home” they are literally being taken back to a sort of solitary confinement. To sit, each one alone in a concrete cell with NOTHING in it to keep them occupied.

I realized then that being in cages on set was probably a treat for them, anything to break the cyclical monotony of their normal lives at this so called “zoo”. I left the set in tears and decided to reach out to as many people as I can for input, help or information as to how we can help these poor, neglected creatures.

I want to try and see if I can raise money to help this zoo create a more natural habitat for the monkeys, where they (being such a social animal) can live together and have trees to climb and be able to hide a bit from all the people staring at them. I’m gonna do a lot of research and keep you all posted on what organization I’m going to start working with to see this come to fruition. I’m tired of living in a dream world and ignoring the never ceasing madness. Please help… -m


Shanghai: Well, here I am again. Reporting from the trenches. Since my last report, a lot has changed to say the least. I’ve been sick too many times to mention. My skin broke out in something or other, who bloody knows… it didn’t look healthy though (or pretty for that matter). I’m exhausted. Every time I finish early on set, they take me an hour away to the rehearsal space and we train. Not even counting the training on my days off. The food here is just too crazy for me to eat. It seems like the Chinese food in China is very different to the food we get in the U.S. I’m lucky to get 5 hours of sleep every night. Not to mention that my only 2 days off are being taken by RE2 for looping. The schedule we’re on is grueling. 6 day work weeks at 14 hours a day and I’m finally feeling the effects of it. I remember those days when I last wrote to you all about how exciting this whole experience is… Well, I spoke too soon! I WANT TO GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!!! We’ve been here now since December… Ahhhhhhhh! Hehe. Look, I love what I do and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I need a vacation. It’s been like 3 years since I last took 2 weeks off and went away to the beach… well that time is finally coming around. I should be studying my lines one more time right now, cause they’re gonna call me on set in about 10 min. But, I had to get all this out. The only thing that’s keeping my sanity intact is the fact that Billy and I have recorded some really great songs (at least I think they are). I would release them for you guys to hear, but these new ones I want to try and refine with a producer, so I’ll be posting some other demos from the past that you all haven’t heard as soon as I can.

Oh! And by the way, my DSL connection here SUCKS!!!!!!!! In Hong Kong, it was really fast, that’s how I was able to release all those songs so quickly for you. Now, it’s like attach the file and then go do laundry for the day and MAYBE by the time I’m finished (we finally have a washer, but the European kind, which takes all day to do a pair of undies) the file will have been sent. But then again, maybe not! Ahhhhhhh! And double Ahhhhhh!!! Anyway, they’re calling me to set now. Will be back later….

Hey, I’m back. So, I’m taking about 2 handfuls of vitamins a few times a day just to cope with whatever my body is going through. Like 6 Omega-3’s a day and Vitamin C is my candy, Glucosamine, for my poor joints. Collagen pills to help keep the skin moist from the inside out. I’ve started with the Echinacea again, cause ANOTHER cold is going around the set and it’s been raining here since we arrived. This seems to be a veritable breeding ground for bacteria, every woman on set looks like they have pepperoni pizza for skin (I was there too until I started all my vitamins!), so now I’m also eating a bunch of acidophilus to make sure my stomach is getting some help dealing with this whole experience. Oh, let’s not forget 3 different types of calcium, one with magnesium, one with potassium and one normal a day. (For all the ladies reading this, if you have breakouts on your chin, that is for sure to do with the digestive tract and the fact that you’re not getting enough calcium and Omega 3. If your tongue spasms when you stick it out, that means you’re low on magnesium which leads to higher stress and bad mood swings as well as facial ticks! Good to know.) Also, Olive Oil extract is a natural anti-bacterial, so drinking two teaspoons a few times a day will help everything heal. I’ve never known so much about diet and supplements as I do now, but because I have to be in front of the camera, I have to do everything I can to keep my skin looking great, not to mention keeping my stamina and morale up. Let me tell you, after I started my new vitamin regime (along with cutting down on wheat and refined sugars) my skin has completely turned around. (Boys, sorry for all this skin talk!)

Anyway. I haven’t had the chance to read any good books through all this since I last wrote you all. Just all my science mags (Look out for the Venus eclipse around the 9th of June or thereabouts if you’re in this part of the world!). Oh, Billy gave me the poetry of “Hafiz” to read, which is extraordinary! He is so ahead of his time and his spiritual journey is very inspiring.

To put it in a nutshell, Shanghai is amazing. Don’t get me wrong. If I had the time to sight see and soak in the culture here it would be different, but working as much as I am, all I want are modern conveniences. Call me superficial, I don’t give a @#^%! I’m not one to ever shirk a challenge, but since my work gives me plenty of that, when I have a free day, I don’t want to be scared to take a walk, that someone is going to spit or snot on me. (I’m not even kidding, I saw people snotting out of their nostrils onto the street, literally 2 feet away from my foot -which had a cute little sandal on it, not a combat boot which is what I would have worn if I would have known what it was gonna be like- and if it would have landed on my almost naked foot, man… I would be publicly beaten in a Chinese prison, cause that guy would have been wailed on by me!). God, I hope this movie turns out well! You don’t know how hard it is to work so much for something that you never know will turn out right. My mantra: “it’s all about the process, not the result” or as Violet would say (and Kurt will kill me for releasing this to you but you know what? @#$%& him!): “ I am a titan, a monolith. And nothing will stop me.” I love her so much! Well guys, I have to go again. Sorry it’s taken so long for my update. I will try to send you some more pics and music, but like I said, the connection here is arcane, so please don’t be impatient with me. All the best! -m

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